The Humane Society of the United States
    • Share to Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Print

Responsible Horse Breeding

Horse breeders can play a key role in preventing neglect, starvation and slaughter

  • A responsible horse breeder can keep horses from being abused, neglected, or sent to slaughter. iStockphoto

Our troubled economy has a trickle-down effect onto animals. Horse owners who struggle financially often find it difficult to adequately care for their high-maintenance animals. The result is a record-high number of horses who suffer from neglect or starvation. Some are even being sent to slaughter. But horse breeders can help stem the tide of suffering.

By reducing the number of surplus horses they breed, rejecting slaughter in their business model, and taking responsibility for ensuring a humane life for each horse they sell, breeders can dramatically reduce the number of horses who are neglected, starved, or sent to slaughter. 

The breeding-slaughter connection

The continued availability of horse slaughter has allowed---even encouraged---some horse breeders to behave irresponsibly. They produce foals for whom there is no clear demand and no lifelong plan, and they incorporate the possibility of slaughter into their business model to cull their herd and dispose of surplus animals. Responsible breeders save horses from slaughter by not only lowering the number of surplus animals but also by properly training each horse for a long and successful life with her owner.

If you breed horses, please help reduce the number of horses sent to slaughter by joining the thousand-plus breeders who have taken the responsible breeders pledge.

See the Responsible Horse Breeders List: Breeders who've pledged to assist with horses they've bred if they become homeless or at risk for slaughter.

The HSUS's Responsible Horse Breeders Council

In recognition of the key role breeders play in reducing horse suffering, The Humane Society of the United States has recently organized the Responsible Horse Breeders Council. The council:

  • Educates members of the public, as well as current and potential horse breeders, about responsible horse breeding and efforts to reduce the number of U.S. horses sent to slaughter.
  • Develops and advocates for public policy positions and educational initiatives to discourage overbreeding.
  • Informs horse owners about the costs and responsibilities of horse ownership.
  • Supports efforts to retrain and rehome at-risk horses.

Have you used the Responsible Breeders list to buy a horse or to contact a breeder to help safeguard your horse from slaughter? Please share your story »

For the individual: responsible horse ownership

Horse owners also play a key role in reducing suffering. If you're in the market for a horse, learn how to responsibly bring one into the family. If you have a horse for whom you can no longer care, find a humane way to relinquish her. For even more, read our comprehensive horse care resources.

Button reading donate now